LAHORE            -           Punjab Food Minister Abdul Aleem Khan on Thursday said that there was no restriction on inter-district transport of wheat across Punjab but the procedure for issuance of wheat permits from different districts had been changed.

“Now the deputy commissioner of the district from where the wheat is carried has to issue the NOC”, he said while talking to a delegation of Flour Mills Association led by its Chairman Asim Raza.

The Minister said that on the occasion of arrival of the month of Ramazan and wheat procurement campaign, Flour Mills Association should not go for strike. Abdul Aleem Khan said that the present Government was determined to achieve the target of procurement of wheat as per the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar.

He added that wheat was available in abundance in Punjab and the government would achieve the set target of 45,000 metric tons soon. The government, he added, would even purchase the surplus wheat so that the needs of the brotherly provinces could be met.

The Minister clarified that no third party was allowed to buy wheat from Punjab and Punjab Government would buy wheat and hand it over to KPK. He said that smuggling and stockpiling were evils and it was necessary to get rid of them for which an Ordinance containing severe punishments had already been promulgated. he said that the government would deal with those who created artificial shortages with iron hands. The Deputy Commissioners and the administration in each district had been given powers after which the scams in the procurement of wheat would be completely eradicated, the minister said.

Abdul Aleem Khan listened to the demands of the Flour Mills Association and assured them of an immediate solution. Asim Raza, Central Chairman, Flour Mills Association, assured all possible cooperation to Punjab Senior Minister and Food Minister Abdul Aleem Khan and announced to withdraw the strike call and hoped that the Food Department would take immediate action on their demands. In the meeting Chairman Flour Mills Association Punjab Abdul Rauf Mukhtar, Hafiz Ahmad Qadir and Mian Mohammad Riaz were also present. Also, Food Minister is visiting South Punjab on Friday where he will not only review the wheat procurement drive in Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan districts but will also meet the representatives of local flour and seed mills to hear their grievances.